For almost 9 years now I have been writing this blog, and I concede that there may have been a “few” times when I encountered writer’s block. Okay, lots of times. Thus, when I ran across a blog post by Gary Kinder on the topic, it caught my interest. Kinder conducts writing programs for law firms. He has run ABA webinars and online CLE programs on the subject as well. His recent post on Attorney at Work outlined his recommended 21-minute method to overcome writer’s block.
Initially, I was a little turned off by his RIGHT brain and LEFT brain stuff, but actually it makes a lot of sense as to how the malady comes about. His point here is that the left brain insists on perfection, while the right brain is more creative. Basically, his method is designed to trick the left brain, so the right/creativity side (where failure is permissible) can get your writing effort underway without the guilt. Maybe that is not exactly what he says, but it reminded me that in the early days of my lawyer marketing, I emphasized how in law school we were taught that failure is not an option. I tried to instill in lawyers, in those early days and since that failure in marketing and business development is absolutely permissible, since landing every prospect is impossible anyway.
In a nutshell, his approach includes:
- First rule: Hide the research. After doing your research on the topic, it’s “all there in your right brain.” Having the research in front of you is merely a distraction. So, put it out of sight. You can always go back to check yourself later;
- Step one: Converse. Talk it up with someone – friend, colleague, etc. In my case I talk to myself a lot. Go over the “case/deal/issue/problem” and then write it up. It’s not “supposed to be good. It’s the first failure along the road to creating that document,” according to Kinder;
- Second Rule: You can’t stop writing. Don’t let the left brain “jump in and criticize.” Keep going, even if it seems awkward or disjointed. Remember this is the early stage, and failure is an option, since it is more important “to write than it is what you write.” And it can be in the form of a rough outline. You will have plenty of time later to go over what it is you have written;
- Step Two: Organize. This is where you let the left brain back into the process, to help get the outline into the logical order;
- Step Three: Write. Then, using your outline and your memory, start writing. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.;
- Third Rule: You must go all the way to the end. Don’t stop to perfect paragraphs as you go. You will have plenty of time to edit and reedit after you get all the main information down on paper or on the screen;
Whether you are writing a legal brief or memo, or a marketing article for publication in a trade journal, Kinder’s process will help you get over writer’s block. Heck, it helped me today.